Reporting from Bonn, UNFCCC: ADP Technical Expert Meeting: Urban environment
10 June 2014
A technical expert meeting on urban environment was organised by the UNFCCC secretariat under the guidance of the ADP Co-Chairs on 10 June 2014 in Bonn, Germany. The ADP asked the secretariat to organise technical expert meetings at each of the ADP sessions in 2014 to share policies, practices and technologies and address necessary finance, technology and capacity building, with special focus on actions with high mitigation potential.
In the keynote presentation of the meeting, a speaker from the World Bank pointed out that cities hold the key to tackling climate change, citing that “cities already account for two thirds of the world’s overall energy consumption and 70% of global greenhouse emissions”. At the same time, it was emphasised that more and more people and assets in cities will be exposed. The speaker also mentioned that the number of cities with the basic analytics needed for low carbon planning are 20% of the world’s 150 largest cities), and only 4% of the world’s 500 largest cities in developing countries are rated as investment grade by international standards. Thus, in order to increase investment at the city level, cities need to improve their revenue base and governance, while at the same time increasing their resilience and creditworthiness. Following this, a speaker from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) addressed barriers to investment in urban infrastructure. In order to scale up private investment, there needs to be lower risks for investments and enhanced returns on investments. This can be done by improving governance and bolstering investor confidence. Thus, cities need to have a vision and set up long-term planning as well as enhance their creditworthiness.
In the panel discussion, case studies from various countries were presented. The city of Malmö, Sweden stated that it set targets for the city to be climate neutral by 2020, and aimed for the whole municipality to be run on 100% renewable energy by 2030. Also it hopes to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40%, calculated from 1990 by 2020. In case of Kampala city, Uganda, the representative introduced activities to improve financial sustainability. With support from the World Bank’s Public Private Investment Advisory Facility (PPIAF) Program, Kampala embarked on a “credit-worthiness initiative”. The focus of the initiative is to improve local revenue collections, to improve financial management and credibility, to set up regulatory reforms to support municipal borrowing, and to obtain a city credit rating. As a result, it began by restructuring and improving its treasury management systems and then put in place a new accounting manual. This was followed by revenue collections showing an increase of 110% over the last 36 months. Finally, the city completed a review of the assets register which established that Fixed Assets had been undervalued by 800%.
Next was at presentation from a representative from Bogota, Colombia who introduced the progress they had made with an electrified transportation system and activities to promote electric cars. Then Tokyo, Japan introduced its step-by-step approach to initiate cap and trade. In order for this to succeed, there is a need for data collection on taking climate change countermeasures and making a clear city climate change plan. Much can also be learned from other cities through networks such as the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). There also could be more promotion to change public perceptions so that low-carbon cities can be built.
At the end of the session, various city-related activities were introduced by participants from the floor, including the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO)
For more details: UNFCCC ADP Technical Expert Meeting website